Trouble in post

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The warning from the Royal Mail that competition from rival delivery firms is putting the universal service obligation (USO) at risk is utterly predictable (your report, 20 November).

This obligation ensures the delivery of letters to all areas of the UK at a single price and is hugely important to businesses and individuals in rural areas of Scotland.

However, increased parcel delivery competition is naturally hitting Royal Mail ­revenues.

The sell-off of the Royal Mail was nothing but a shambles from day one.

A privatised ­postal service in a competitive market will undoubtedly put pressure on government to ­reduce the terms of the USO, as its competitors cherry-pick the profitable urban routes leading to a reduced service in rural and less affluent areas.

Now we are told there is a “material risk” to the USO – and that the delivery service across the UK will come under 
“unmanageable strain”.

Royal Mail should never have been privatised and it is painfully clear the UK government should never have sold off a valuable public asset at well below its true value, despite all the warnings about the end of USO.

We know the majority of Scots were totally opposed to the privatisation of Royal Mail, more than any other part of the UK. What we need is a postal service that meets the needs of our communities and which is brought back into public ­ownership.

Alex Orr

Leamington Terrace